What I learned this Easter


#1

This Easter Sunday we got up a little early so we could make it to Mass before the crowds. My husband’s words were “We have to get there before someone blocks us out.” We made it in plenty of time to sit in my husband’s favorite spot, the last pew. At least we aren’t behind the pillars, I thought. (If we sit on the other side of the church, we are behind the pillars because my husband has to sit on the far left of the pew to favor his bum knee.) But it was still the back pew.

Three of our boys are still shorter than I am, and I’m not what anyone would consider tall. Mass is usually spent trying to stretch little necks into awkward zigzags so they can see, through the vast array of backs and backsides between us and the altar, the wonderful miracle happening “before our very eyes.” Easter Sunday was no different. And then a man who would be called tall situated himself right in front of me. Now, once again, my neck was one of the ones being twisted in order to see Our Lord on the altar.

I decided that next week I am sitting in one of the front pews so no one can “block us out.” I am tired of sitting where my husband is the only one who can see. I wind up having to police the boys, who are trying to entertain themselves in the pew.

Another thing that affected my Mass experience during Holy Week and in to Easter Sunday was the choir. Our choir sits up front, with the cantor or choir director actually at the altar. They tend to perform. I like to join in the Mass by praying the prayers and singing the hymns, albeit imperfectly. I long to join my voice with the voices of the angels who are singing praise at every mass.

The choir sings songs that the congregation doesn’t know while we stand in silence. They receive Communion at the head of the line, so the Communion hymn doesn’t start until about half the church has received, again leaving us to stand in silence just waiting for them to get settled in and start singing something we can’t join. When we are expected to sing, the music director has chosen either brand new hymns every week or arrangements that don’t flow intuitively. Not being able to enjoy singing has really diminished my joy in the Mass. I almost cried, I was so sad at not being able to participate fully.

After we got home, people started making their breakfasts. My sweet husband realized that we were almost out of bread. He invited me to go with him to Wal-Mart to replenish our supply. We went and spent as much time shopping as we had at church.

Back at home the boys were concerned over who’s turn it was to play on the computer. They argued over who got to help their father plant grass seed. They bickered about who was touching whom.

I put a chicken in the oven and made all the side dishes, but by the time it was ready, I just wanted to check out of the family. I realized that our Easter Sunday was no different from any other Sunday. There was nothing special about the day, nothing to set it apart.

After some consideration, I have decided that I need people around for holidays and holy days. In the eight years we have been living away from home and family we have spent only a few holidays with extended family. When we did, my holidays were fun and full of fine fellowship. When we stayed put and celebrated by ourselves, I was generally ready to crawl into bed and have a good cry by the time dinner was on the table. Those times when we stayed put and invited friends to celebrate with us, again my holiday was both joyful and meaningful.

I have now informed my husband that I require people for the holidays. The relationships with extended, even unrelated, family is what makes the holidays for me.

So, who wants to come help me do Mother’s Day right?


#2

Maybe this will make you feel better. A priest I knew told me he had two senarios while going to church as a child. Either he went with his mom, arriving late and she would march them right up the aisle to the front pew, or her went with his dad arriving way too early to make sure they got the last pew. Maybe one of your boys will grow up to be a priest!
Two of my sisters were in Cancun over Easter with their families. The other lives across the country from me. At dinner it was me, my husband, our children, my mother and our best friends. That was fine, but I know what you mean about wanting the meal to be extra special.
I had big plans about how this was going to be such a productive Lent, but only made it to Stations three times and once I was late. I didn’t pray the rosary every day like I wanted to. I actually missed daily Mass when a priest didn’t show. So I am just determined to try again next year to have a really productive Lent.
Have you considered joining the choir at your church? That way maybe your husband could sit where he wanted and you would learn all the songs. In my parish the choir is great, they have a wonderful time and are very social. There are people of every age. It might make your kids feel pretty good too to see you up there.


#3

Dear Loren 1of6,

Hail and Well Met! :slight_smile:

I hope that you will indeed travel to see relatives, or invite relatives and friends to see you at holidays.

Being a middle-aged single woman who lives in Ohio while all my family lives in New York, it means I either get in the car and head for the highway or else spend all my holidays alone.

“What I learned this Easter” is that my young nephew somehow got it into his head that I, his aunt, am really the Easter Bunny in disguise! Where he came up with that one I’ll never know, but it was too cute. :stuck_out_tongue:

I also learned that the niece to whom I gave the grown-up Christmas present of real art supplies who had at the time seemed disappointed and even a little mad that she didn’t get the more fun-looking children’s presents like the others … was precisely the niece who seemed to want to spend the most time with me at Easter.

Meanwhile, as for you … YOU ATTENDED EASTER MASS TOGETHER WITH YOUR FAMILY … Rejoice, because not everyone does that. In my case, I slept at my parents’ house. I had to go to one Easter Mass alone, my mother to a different Easter Mass alone, and then she had to bring back Holy Communion to my father, who is a stroke survivor and was unable to make it to Mass.

Please pray that more families will attend Mass together like yours. The world needs more people like you.

:blessyou:

~~ the phoenix


#4

Easter Vigil was simply beautiful, lots went wrong, but Holy Spirit picked up the slack and took care of everything.

I do miss my grandchildren terribly at the holidays but one plane ticket a year is all we can manage and that is for the summer holiday. glad to hear from grandkids that DDs still put toothbrushes and toothpaste in the Easter baskets, and still make a game of hiding and seeking them. Baby Jane had her first chocolate bunny rabbit and was taught quickly by brother to bite off the ears. she is teething and thinks the hard chocolate is another teething toy.


#5

I’ve a suggestion for your Easter plans… become part of your Parish RCIA team. The Vigil is the most beautiful Mass of the year, plus, you will be surrounded by family - your Catholic family!


#6

Just don’t forget – whenever you’re paying attention to the Mass and giving it your best, you’re participating fully. Singing is important, but it’s an aid to participation, not the participation itself.


#7

I can just see her, hard chocolate in hand, teething it to death all the while getting more and more chocolatey herself:p.

Loven1of6 you are blessed to want to celebrate with lots of people. I miss some of my family around but I really like having it just be my husband and two girls (who are both adults and live at home while they go to school right now). I have lived away from immediate family most of my married life - so for the last 29 or so years it has been just my husband and myself. Our first year away though, we made friends with others who were far from family like us so we made a pact (sort of) and we celebrated each of the important holidays hosted by a different couple who was responsible for the meat and the rest of us brought the side dishes. It was a lot of fun and made being so far away from our families a lot easier to deal with.

Brenda V.


#8

I remember one priest opening his homily with, “To pick up where I left off last Christmas…”. A nice, subtle jab. :smiley:


#9

Loren,
I understand your frustration, but at least your husband went to church with you, which many husbands do not. And you have a family that you were with and a chicken to put on your table, and a husband that was interested in spending time with you (even if it was at WalMart!) I think lots of people would be jealous of your situation. I applaud you for trying to make it better, but remember to give thanks for what you do have.

RubyWannabe


#10

I agree Loren, I just love to have the house full for the holidays. I feel much more fullfilled for some reason. We had a quiet Easter. Only one of our sons could make it. We had a great time with him and his girlfreind stopped by for a bit also. We met our other son at mass and sat with him and his girlfriend. It was the girlfriends moms turn for company and I want them to take that time for her also, so we weren’t upset at all. My daughter and grandsons are out of town now and we missed them alot. I’m hoping for a full house on the next holiday.


#11

I understand what you mean about wanting people around. We have lived about 1500 miles from where we grew up for almost all of our married life (nearly 34 years.) We have missed virtually every holiday, family wedding, etc., and has been very hard. Easter dinner was just dh and I, as our daughter who is still at home until her June wedding spent the day with her fiance’s family (celebrating his niece’s birthday as well.) But I cooked up a nice dinner for just the two of us, called my dad in New England and daughter in Texas and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. Mass was wonderful (aside from an obscure hymn or two.)

We will have out of town family here for the wedding in June and I am really looking forward to that.


#12

Since I’m an ‘orphan,’ I volunteer. I’m a good cook and willing to do dishes.


#13

I sort of understand the desire to have family around for holidays, but for the most part I’m glad we are able to celebrate as our own family the way that we want to (my family is not Catholic and my dh’s parent’s aren’t either, but his extended family is) because they live so far away. Unfortunately for most of Lent we were either really ill or out of town on vacation w/no transportation. We were finally all well for Palm Sunday and Easter and I hope we stay that way. I don’t like missing Mass.

Maybe next year, if you can’t get family near you and even if you can, you can plan more for Lent and Easter and start some traditions to do each year. I love creating little traditions to make each season special.

wf-f.org/ Women for Faith and Family has booklets for Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter that can help (I think they are called Family Sourcebooks in the links to the left)

catholicculture.org/liturgicalyear/ Catholic Culture’s liturgical year section has great ideas for each season Here’s their Easter section:
catholicculture.org/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/Easter/

domestic-church.com/ Domestic Church also has lots of ideas for various seasons and celebrations of the Church–here’s their Easter section:
domestic-church.com/lent-and-easter/index.html

It’s never to late to start adding customs and traditions into your family life to make their faith more alive and interesting :slight_smile: and it’s fun, too

God bless!


#14

Holidays are what you make them…This Easter was my year to be with my children…now adults but they still follow the every other holiday schedule started by the Courts when they were toddlers. My sisters live to far away for a 1 day visit and my ds had to work Easter afternoon. So we went to church, picked up our friends who are blind and had a lovely restaurant lunch! No muss no fuss. Son went to work…DD and I went back to our friends home, had dessert and I helped them read their mail (something I do several times per month!) We were together, we had full bellies, and spent time with friends that we love. I guess we won’t make the pages of Martha Stewart but
life is what you make it and I like to make lemonade out of what could be lemons!


#15

Thanks, everyone, for helping me remember to count my blessings. :slight_smile: Even some of the things I consider problems are more blessing than some people have.

Yesterday, for Divine Mercy Sunday, my husband actually chose a seat about halfway up. There weren’t nearly as many people there so we all had a fairly clear view, except for my oldest son who had a pillar between him and the altar.:rolleyes:

For the next holidays, I am going to start early either volunteering our family somewhere or inviting people over. That will keep me in the spirit, which should help everyone else stay on track.

And Sailor Kenshin, just drop by whenever. I love cooking for an appreciative audience, but always accept help with the dishes.:smiley:


#16

Sugee! :thumbsup:


#17

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